Health Foods Business
Bee Pollen: From Principles to Practice
by Dr. Betty Kamen
Reports from prestigious medical journals from throughout the world have been singing the praises of bee pollen. And for good reason—bee pollen is nature's most complete food. Gathered from the stamen of flowers, it is rich in dozens of nutrients, including minerals, vitamins A, D, E and all the B-complex, enzymes and co-enzymes, carbohydrates and fatty acids.
Following are just some of the more recent scientific studies upholding bee pollen's healthful attributes.
*Russia, February 1990: To improve the immunological status of patients with multiple sclerosis, treatment with bee pollen is recommended.
*Great Britain, January 1987: A product containing bee pollen, bee bread, royal jelly and vitamin C was given to a menopausal group of women for 30 days. The results: 82 percent of the patients reported to be symptom-free. The remaining 18 percent found the symptoms had been reduced to a tolerable level. All patients reported a feeling of well-being after just ten days.
*Czechoslovakia, August 1987: Favorable effects of bee pollen in patients with chronic renal insufficiency is demonstrated.
*United States, November 1986: Iron-containing cells in the honeybee accumulate during development. The iron is obtained from the bee pollen, and is believed to play a role in orientation when the worker bee begins its foraging behavior.
*Norway, May 1980: Several bee pollen samples were investigated with regard to their content of crude fiber, ether extact, protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, and inorganic components. In all aspects, the results were in agreement with previous investigations which validated the nutritional superiority of bee pollen.
*1969, Kilmer McCully, M.D., Harvard Medical School: Dr. McCully discovered the homocysteine theory and noted that the original lesion (injury) in arteriosclerosis (heart disease) is caused by a series of events initiated by a deficiency of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and an increase in the toxic substance, homocysteine. Homocysteine is a breakdown product of the amino acid methionine. When pyridoxine is present, homocysteine is unable to do its destructive work.
Vitamin B6 facilitates the enzyme reaction which quickly converts homocysteine to cystothionine, which is not toxic. "Since methionine is an essential amino acid—which means it must be on your plate every day," explains McCully, "it would be in your best health interest to eat foods having a high B6 content and a low methionine content. The three foods having the most favorable B6-methionine ratio are:
bananas – ratio: 40 to 1
carrots – ratio: 15 to 1
onions – ratio: 10-1
If McCully knew that bee pollen has a B6-methionine ratio of 400 to 1, it surely would have been at the top of his list. Is it possible that bee pollen can help to wipe out heart disease, our number one killer?
*1948, National Cancer Institute: Bee pollen in the ratio of one part per 10,000 to food, had a pronounced effect on malignant mammary tumors; it prevented or delayed such tumors, and reduced the size of existing tumors.
*Hippocrates: Honey and pollen cause warmth, cleanse sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of the lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.
What is Bee Pollen?
What is bee pollen? If you remember your school biology, you know that pollen is the male seed of flowers which fertilize a plant. Whether the flower develops in a greenhouse, in a formal garden, or grows wild at the side of the road, it puts forth a dusting of pollen. Pollen is then carried from one flower to another, a process called pollination.
Bees are responsible for the pollination of more than 80 percent of green growing things. As the honeybee forages for its lion's share, it collects the pollen in a sac. When the bee returns to the hive, the pollen grains which have not been lost to flower pollination along the way are deposited in the honey-comb cell.
What Makes Bee Pollen Special?
Anything capable of reproduction has to be highly nutrient-dense—it must contain the full range of nutrients essential for life. A pollen grain contains from one hundred thousand to five million pollen spores, each capable of reproducing the species. Just think of the profusion of nutrients in a single grain of pollen!
Bee pollen is extraordinarily rich in rutin, which strengthens capillaries. It may, in fact, have the highest content of rutin of any source tested to date.
RNA and DNA are found in abundant quantities in bee pollen. This would be expected of any substance that is capable of reproduction.
Vitamin B12, not usually found in vegetable sources, is found in bee pollen in relative abundance. This makes it a special asset for vegetarians.
Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid (which means it must be on your plate because your body cannot manufacture it) is well represented in bee pollen.
B vitamins are also among those that must be replenished daily. Dr. Trubetsloi, at the Vesting Institute in the USSR, reports that pollen is the richest source of the water-soluble B vitamins.
Vitamin E deficiency has just been correlated with heart disease, independent of smoking habits, blood pressure, lipids, and even of weight. The findings suggest that those with a high incidence of coronary heart disease may benefit from eating diets rich in natural antioxidants, particularly vitamin E. Bee pollen contains vitamin E in large amounts.
The amino acids of bee pollen were compared with those of animal origin by the chief of the French National Center of Scientific Research in Paris, Mme. Aschenasy Leru. The conclusion? Bee pollen is superior in every respect. It contains five to seven times more amino acids than beef, eggs, and cheese of equal weight.
Because of its high content of glutamic acid, which is able to cross the blood/brain barrier, bee pollen has the reputation of reducing alcohol craving, increasing IQ (including the IQ of retarded children), and increasing powers of concentration. The presence of lecithin in bee pollen also contributes to the increase in brain function.
If you think small Japanesse cars do well with mileage, note this: A delightful commentary in Science Digest in an article called, "The Honeybee—A Lesson in Energy," refers to the energy power of pollen. "Bees eat some of the pollen and honey they've manufactured for energy to collect more nectar," states the article. "They make amazingly efficient use of their fuel, getting abut one million miles to the gallon."
Those of you who are interested in energy metabolism will be especially intrigued with this report: Dr. Eric H. Erickson, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, is studying the electrical energy in bee pollen. He explained that plants give off a strong electrical charge themselves, so when the bees come in close contact, they experience a surge of power too.
Erickson found that bee pollen is particularly high in natural electricity. When volunteers consumed various pollen samples, they were monitored with sensitive electronic devices and an increase in their bioelectricity or body energy was noticed.
For those concerned about weight (and that's most of us), it is comforting to know that bee pollen is a low-calorie food. Two tablespoonsful, or approximately two ounces, contain only 90 calories. It offers 15 percent lecithin by volume. This is significant because lecithin helps to normalize fat metabolism. This may be one reason why bee pollen lowers cholesterol. Its natural phenylalanine content also helps give it appetite suppressant qualities.
In his book, How to Live the Millenium, Royden Brown, who is probably the world's greatest authority on bee pollen, says: "Researchers have demonstrated that there is a substance in bee pollen which offers resistance to the development of numerous harmful bacteria. Experiments have shown that bee pollen contains an antibiotic factor effective on salmonella and some strains of colibacillus." On the clinical level, observations have shown precisely that a regulatory effect on intestinal function may be attributed to bee pollen.
Bee pollen even plays a role in sexual health. Examining 40 men from sterile marriages showed that sperm deficiency was the culprit. Bee pollen proved to be the magic elixir.
After bee pollen treatment, there was an improvement in general health status, an increase in sexual actvity, and improved sperm production.
Just as we cannot create an orange in the laboratory with seeds that will develop into another orange, so it is that we cannot reproduce the golden pollen grain, in spite of our very sophisticated high technology and the thousands of bee pollen analyses that have been made—dissecting, examining and identifying each of its amazing constituents. So it is that honeybee pollen is high on the priority list of natural food supplements.
Other Products from the Hive
While most everyone knows that the honeybee produces honey from nectar, fewer are aware that the honeybee also produces other products from the raw materials it gathers.
A thick, creamy white substance manufactured by the nursing bee. The Queen Bee is maintained exclusively on royal jelly, which accounts for her incredible size and longevity. Rich in proteins, hormones, nucleic acid, B vitamins and vitamins A, C and E.
Bees gather resin from the trees to make propolis. It blends with wax flakes secreted from special glands on the underside of the bee's abdomen. Used to line interior cells in preparation for queen's laying of eggs, and defensive seal. Known as "Russian penicillin", propolis has antiseptic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Sweet viscus fluid. Manufactured by bees from nectar collected from flowers and stored in nests or hives for food. Offers negligible amounts of most nutrients, except simple sugars. Sweeter than sucrose, so less quantity required for sweetness. Known to soothe sore tissues.
Dr. Betty Kamen, with degrees in psychology and nutrition
education, and experience as an award-winning photo-
journalist and university instructor, has made her mark
as a health expert in the media. Betty has hosted major
radio and TV programs, and authored fourteen books, among
them: The Chromium Diet, Supplement and Exercise Strategy